Thursday, December 9, 2010

Work it Out!

Been meaning to write this post for awhile as I feel like something shifted in my parenting a bit ago that has been a really good thing for the kids. For quite a long time, they have been moving into that "fight over everything" mode. Whatever toy Orion wants, Akasha has to have right at that moment, and vice versa. If one comes over to give me a hug, the other runs over screaming they want to give me a hug instead. Really? I try so hard to promote the abundance thing! Whywhywhy?

Although truth to be told, how much of it is my "fault"? What can I say, I am an intervener. I have read all sorts of books and articles about conflict resolution and am always ready to jump in with validating and observations and problem solving and all manner of other supposedly "helpful" things. But guess what worked? Leaving them the hell alone. Well, after some words of encouragement, kinda like they talk about in Siblings Without Rivalry.... Wait, who am I kidding? I didn't even do that! I got irritated with them and told them to deal with it on their own. That is the amazing thing - even done poorly it led to a better outcome than with me being involved!

OK, so maybe I wasn't quite that rude either. Mostly I have used it with TV shows, but I think it is helping in other areas as well. It usually looks something like this: A show ends and the fighting starts - "I want Wubbzy!" "I want Little Bear!" Or whatever.... I used to do a taking turns thing with picking the shows, but that never really worked well as it is just more of a setup for too much emphasis on "fairness". And then who gets to pick first anyway?! So now I just put the TV on pause and tell them to talk it out. And remarkably, they do! I have to admit, since this started, it is pretty much always Akasha coming around to Orion's idea, but this gets accomplished by him communicating with her in a kind voice, so really, what does it matter? And how often has it probably seemed to him Akasha is getting favored, for oh, about two and a half years now? This is probably good for him.

I am not naive enough to think it will always go like this. Sooner or later she is going to realize what is going on and get stronger in her opinions. Hopefully by then she will be more able to participate in some more out of the box problem solving (and maybe we will have another TV viewing area lol). We almost had a failure the other day over who was going to get what advent calendar, and I thought I was going to have to go back to the store for two of the same, but Akasha came through and let Orion have the one they both wanted. I think her desire to get at the chocolate finally became bigger than caring that she got a green or red background.

Bottom line is, when a parent directs things too much, I think it takes the power away from the kids. And no matter how impartial you are, there is a certain sense of competing for parental attention in that situation, not to mention a message that they NEED help. I can still be there to hold the space and make sure nothing starts flying.... :) And as they get older, and the problems get harder, I am sure some input from me might be helpful sometimes, but really I think that a practice of keeping my mouth shut when they are this young is going to do more for them than I will ever know.

1 comment:

Emily S said...

What a great post! I keep finding myself saying the word "help" all.the.time. Offering to help, insisting on helping, and I think it's driving my 5 year old nuts. She doesn't want my help and of course my 2 year old is all about "do it myself" as well. I need to figure out how to hold space for them without doing so much "helping," because my helping isn't all that helpful. lol